Mohammad Wasim, Director and Global Infrastructure Lead, Sapient, talks about enabling and guiding people towards success. By Pooja Paryani
During his 16 years in the IT field, Mohammad Wasim has been a key contributor in transforming skills into services and been involved in various roles in critical engagements across the globe. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies in telecom, technology, healthcare, travel, and financial services domains. At Sapient he is responsible for driving the strategy, value growth, and expansion across geographical locations in his domain. He also takes the lead in expanding into new markets and developing strategic relationships for growth. For his achievements in the field Wasim was recognised as an IT and ITES Icon in CIO Power List 2016.
But while IT is binary, in his heart he is driven to build and grow teams. This passion isn’t just confined to work; it permeates outside the office as well. Through his NGO, the Sufia Rahim Foundation, Wasim helps those who do not have access to good or even basic education achieve their potential. “Those from smaller towns and villages don’t get good exposure to opportunities that are best suited to them,” says Wasim. “So we try to enable people in whatever field they are good at. I feel people in developing towns also deserve a platform to follow their dreams. It isn’t about just finding them a job. It’s about enabling them to walk independently on their journey. And by enabling, I don’t mean sparing money, but mentoring, training, influencing and protecting them. Each person’s needs are different, so you need to be observant about what is needed when.”
Introduction to social welfare
“I have been influenced by my mother a lot. She was a great leader, a Suf. Many would come to her to share the challenges they were facing. She would do whatever possible to enable them to overcome their hurdles—whether it was by providing support, encouragement, or funding. Her aim was to enable so that the person could overcome difficulties. In many cases, I would be the one on the ground executing what she had to say. That’s when the intent got embedded in me, which is why I am what I am. The work I did in my prime laid the foundation for the work I do now.
“Now I am doing my bit within my circle of influence to enable folks to lead a clean, healthy and progressing life.”
Aiding people in developing areas
“There is a lot of potential in developing cities and towns. The youth there have access to information and have knowledge of the latest in their fields. However, they lack the opportunity. So we look out for those who are passionate about a craft, and enable their potential to become self sustainable. I have seen people transform and over perform.
“In fact, my team has 18 to 20 people who are from smaller towns and have come on board. They are doing exceptionally well on the ground. Initially there is an investment in terms of training, etc; now many of them are on the fast track of growth, and are surprising everyone with their deliverables.”
“If you enable hardworking people by providing them with knowledge, skills and some funding to start their journey, the distance they can cover will pleasantly surprise you. A group 11 young men used to sweat pulling rickshaws to make two ends meet. But despite their complete exhaustion, they desired to achieve more. We got them trained as car mechanics. With some support, in terms of tools and rental real estate, five of them are running their own car workshops and six have got jobs at automobile service centres. That’s the power of enablement.
“Once we came across an exceptional cook who would run to many houses to cook in exchange for a small monthly income. She is an expert in cooking dishes from Bihar, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. We acknowledged and respected her craft by enabling her true potential with some basic infrastructure like utensils and raw materials for a few months, and referred her to others in our network. Now she is so popular that she has added a couple women to her team to meet the customer demand of homemade food.
“It is extremely satisfying to see such people progress and achieve success. This is what keeps me going. I have many other initiatives I want to take up in women empowerment, sanitation and education. That might take some time, as free time is hard to come by. But I will keep willingly doing my bit to enable human potential.”